How Leadership Communication Skills Help You Influence Your Team

how to influence without authority via leadership communication skills

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When it comes to influencing others, leadership communication skills matters, especially when paired with leadership styles like transformational leadership.

What is leadership?

At first glance, we can say that leadership is about guidance—bringing a group of people or an organization together towards a shared goal. Often, we see leaders as the representative of the pack and are almost always associated with the enterprise or the team that they are a part of. These are often people of higher seniority or position.

However, the reality is that leadership has nothing to do with hierarchy. It is in fact, a process—building the capacity to guide others and influence them. Any titles that are given simply reinforces this process with the additional benefit of authority; a true leader is able to influence without authority.

There are a number of leadership types and each one demonstrates its own distinctive practices. Since every person is unique, every leader functions differently as well depending on various factors. Some people prefer to dominate the workplace by making decisions, both big and small, independently while others are more collaborative and team-based. In a work setting, the leadership style being implemented greatly impacts everyone especially in the way they react and perform.

The foundation to everything that we do lies in conversation, and effective leadership is no different. Communication plays a huge role in positively affecting the members of the team. These skills impact the leader’s ability to influence major changes and other crucial movements around the company. Being influential should inadvertently signal the underlings to naturally follow the leader’s stride because they resonate with his or her philosophies, skills, and competency. It is much more effective in gaining a following.

Yet often, we see authority to be the usual leverage for leaders in attempting to influencing others. With an established power and title, anyone can easily show dominance and command over other people in the room.

Not everyone who leads can be influential, and not all who lead well have authority. The question is, how can one effectively influence without being in a position of power?

Leadership Communication Skills

According to SoundWave’s data, team members report their managers using the voices of inquire (for engagement), challenge (for disruption) and advise (for answers and credibility) most. Managers report their team members to be using the voices of diagnose (for solutions), challenge (for disruption) and articulate (for explanation). What does this mean?

The way we talk builds people’s perceptions of us. This is why good communication skills are key for effective leadership. When we are more conscious in the way we talk, we are able to target our conversations towards our recipients, inadvertently influencing every member’s professional behaviour and decisions in the process.

Thus, influencing without authority is easily attainable with the right communication approach. Effective leadership is built on good leadership communication skills which help a lot in influencing every member’s professional behaviour and decisions. Here are the leadership communication skills that are essential to have:

Active Listening

active listening

Effective leaders know and understand the importance of active listening. Communication, especially in a work environment, should always be a two-way street. Managers, bosses, and team leaders should know how to actively engage in conversations. They should be open and caring toward the opinions and ideas of their employees, not just their own.

What to do: Avoid interrupting them as they are trying to get their point across. For instance, try ignoring the buzz from your phone or any other factor that might distract you. This is also a way to show the employee that you respect them.

How to influence others with this skill: It’s important to pay attention by using the ears and the mind. Focus on what the employee is trying to tell you. By actively listening to others, you can genuinely gain their confidence in your ability to lead. Using tools that effectively analyze your way of conversing with other people like the SoundWave 360  can help you understand how your way of communicating impacts their day-to-day performance.


Communication can be a complex thing because not all people have the same level of understanding. As a leader, one must know how to adapt his or her communication style. Having the ability to adjust your communication style to fit the varying motivations of your organization’s members will help you influence them better. This will allow you to attain your goals and get things done faster.

What to do: Some employees are motivated by words of encouragement. They find it difficult to persevere when they are being spoken to in a rather negative or reprimanding manner. Get to know yourself and your colleagues to send out a message in a way that they will respond better to.

How to influence others with this skill: Adaptability shows that you can be flexible with your approach depending on how the people around you respond. Mastering this skill will help you establish your connection with everyone in the group. With the direct reports from SoundWave 360, you can adjust your approach according to the results of your members’ assessment tests.




While not all people are open books, this is an essential quality that a good leader must develop. Being transparent with your team will diminish barriers or walls that hinder them from performing at their best because of not having enough knowledge of what’s going on around them.

What to do: Be open with regard to the company’s goals, challenges, and opportunities. This will help leaders gain the trust of their subordinates and will make them understand what their role in the company is.

How to influence others with this skill: Showing transparency will let your subordinates feel more involved. They will most likely put their trust in you if you are being open to them as well.



Without clarity, it could be challenging to persuade your team into achieving an objective. It’s important within leadership communication skills to communicate the idea in a straightforward manner that could be easily understood by others.

What to do: Be specific in what you need and what you expect in order to achieve success. Leading is not just about telling other people what to do, it’s about making them understand what you think must be done. Other than simplifying your insights, it’s also important to provide additional information to appear clearer to your listeners.

How to influence others with this skill: Clarity affects the way your subordinates respond to your instructions. If you are able to communicate your message with clarity, they will instinctively react to your directives with ease.



Some might think that when it comes to work or business, emotional and personal issues should not be involved. However, a figure of authority must know how to empathize with others. Understanding the feelings and emotions of your employees will make them feel more valued and respected. If you want to be successful in influencing others (even if you have no official authority over them), you must know how to gain their trust.

What to do: Be more sensitive and considerate. Empathy is also a good example of how to effectively listen to your people. Truly listen and avoid judging the person even in your head. Also, encourage your workmates especially those who are usually quiet or seemingly distant.

How to influence others with this skill: Making everybody feel welcome will strengthen the team’s unity, therefore you can achieve your objectives better and faster.



open mindedness

Being open to other people’s ideas, suggestions, and criticisms is the key to harmonious working relationships. It’s important that you listen to what others tell you without any prejudice and accept the fact that these can also help you improve.

What to do: To develop an open mind, try expanding your horizons by doing new things, meeting new people, and being in a different environment. Also, seek out suggestions and feedbacks coming from your team or colleagues. This will show them that you are making efforts to welcome their observations and opinions. Lastly, engage more in conversations. Talking to people will mould your listening skills and will significantly improve collaborations with others.

How to influence others with this skill: Keeping an open mind will help you influence others more because they will respect your insights as much as you do so with theirs.



Delegating tasks requires good communication and proper control. You need to know how to explain the objectives, give out assignments, and set expectations so that your team will perform efficiently and effectively. However, you also need to assess your delegating style and stick to it so that the people working under you will not be left confused.

What to do: There are two ways when it comes to the delegation of tasks: total or shared control. If the team head is in total control, then the leadership style is more commanding. You set the pace and use your power to micromanage everyone. However, if it’s shared control, then it’s more of the followers holding the wheel. It’s a more democratic way wherein collaboration among the entire team is needed to achieve the goal.

How to influence others with this skill: This skill will make your members more confident in your leadership style. Being able to seamlessly delegate tasks will give your overall image a boost.



Sometimes, the job is hard enough as it is so there’s no need to add to the negative aura in the room. Being positive is about encouraging your employees so they can perform better in their assigned tasks. Positivity often comes with kindness, patience, and compassion. Keep in mind that not all people respond well to “tough love” or the kind of training that is centered on derogatory or negative comments.

What to do: When it comes to management, try to be more positive by using encouraging words. Praise your employees if they achieve success in what they do but if they fail, teach them how to make things right using direct but kind words.

How to influence others with this skill: Almost everyone appreciates a positive personality. Sharing positivity with others will help in improving personal and professional relationships.


Giving and Receiving Feedback

giving and receiving feedback

Knowing how to give and receive feedback well will do wonders for a team’s work process. Feedbacks are essential in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a situation. You must learn how to provide feedback so that others know what they need to improve on, and the same goes for you in receiving theirs.

What to do: To do this, one must keep an open mind and remain objective. Feedbacks aren’t supposed to be personal, especially in the workplace. The presence of humility and straightforwardness is very important to properly provide a carefully-thought response. Receiving feedback also shouldn’t be taken personally but instead used as a motivation to understand what you need to improve on or what you already are good at.

How to influence others with this skill: If you are able to provide and receive feedback in the proper manner, you can use this skill to effectively impose directions without them retaliating.



Intentionality is about concentrating on a goal or objective for your business through efficient communication. It’s about setting your eyes on the prize so you can figure out the stepping stones you need to get to it. If you set the intention right for yourself and the members of your team, you will have a clearer vision of what it is you want and how you are going to achieve it successfully.

What to do: Create a clear vision or picture of your direction. Then, discuss this with your team and brainstorm on the sub-goals and strategies you need to do in order to achieve the objective. Lastly, maintain sustained efforts and track every little detail to make sure that you are progressing the way you expected it. So that if it’s not going as well as you had projected, you can realign with your team accordingly and get back in the game.

How to influence others with this skill: Intentional leaders are more deliberate and organized rather than those who are not. With this skill, you can achieve your goals effortlessly and celebrate the success with your team. For example, by being more intentional with the way that you communicate, you can create the outcomes that you want for yourself and your team.


The 8 Styles of Leadership

Mastering the leadership communication skills is one thing but knowing how to incorporate it in your  management routine is another. Leaders have different methods of executing tasks and running a team. Anyone can freely choose which leadership style to use but not every style will be completely effective since there are factors that might affect the members’ response to the chosen approach.

There are different styles of leadership:

Transactional leadership utilizes rewards to motivate a person in doing something, this is quite common in sectors with incentive-based roles.

Servant leadership involves a leader who focuses on the needs of others before himself.

A similar leadership style is Laissez-Faire, where the leader most of the time allows the people to do what they want.

Democratic leadership is a common one, the leaders make a decision based on the insights of the team.

Bureaucratic on the other hand is a bit more conservative, the leaders listen to the members but will most likely deny their inputs because of traditional practices; while in autocratic leadership, the team’s suggestions are not at all considered or heard.

Charismatic leadership is about using connections and personality to lead the team while transformational leadership is continuously evolving depending on the company and the team’s needs.

Transformation leadership appeals to a lot of organizations because of its many benefits. This leadership style allows members to collaborate closely with the leader and be more involved in the overall work process.

Transformational leadership incorporates modern approaches. People with this style are most likely flexible, daring, encouraging, and smart. This style improves leadership communication skills such as open-mindedness, adaptability, delegation, intentionality, and positivity. With this method, leaders are able to impose the style’s advantageous components to the members of the team:

  • Idealized Influence – the leader is able to set the right standards of leadership to the team, enabling everyone to gain more trust and reliance to the superior.
  • Intellectual Stimulation – the leader challenges the members by pushing them out of their comfort zones and assigning them with new and exciting tasks.
  • Individualized Consideration – the leader is open to communicating with the team members anytime needed. Ideas are shared freely because the leader considers every member as a significant contributor of the group.

The transformational leadership model started with James V. Downton in 1973 and was later on extensively studied and expanded by other researchers. The in-depth analysis of this model allowed companies and independent groups to utilize a method that actually works. This leadership style is applicable to most organizations regardless of industry and has brought success to a lot of endeavors. Though most of the time beneficial, this approach can come as a disadvantage to those who have a different, much slower, learning curve. But with transformational leadership, the ultimate goal will always be to build a stronger, more authentic relationship between leaders and members—paving way for every team to reach success through the leader’s positive influence.

Transformational leaders influence others by leaving a distinct impact on their lives. A leader of this style will push the team out of their comfort zone so they can improve for the better. These people are likely to follow the directives of transformational leaders because they are challenged by the ever-evolving methods of the figurehead.


Leadership communication skills heavily determine the capabilities of a leader in positively influencing other people. Although the idea of leadership can seem simple, it can sometimes carry some form of ambiguity because of the role’s fluid characteristics. People take on leadership roles for various reasons; some leaders are officially appointed, some have no titles and are only instinctively assumed, while others are considered as mere nominal figureheads. But although its meaning is open to several interpretations, the essence of leadership remains the same—being able to impact others and build a strong sense of connection with every member in the group.

We all have the ability to talk, we just have to learn to talk better. SoundWave 360 makes it possible for leaders and team members to hone their professional abilities by understanding the way they communicate, engage, and act with its innovative tool that overlays reports—giving an overview of the stakeholders’ perception and allowing an opportunity for transformative change. Through SoundWave 360, leaders can improve their skills, increase their productivity, and collaborate more effectively with everyone in the team. For more information, you may visit SoundWave’s website.

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